Thursday, August 21, 2014

Austin Musician Suzanna Choffel

So I was channel surfacing last night at about 8:30pm, looking for something to watch for a half hour, and I saw a listing in the paper for "Austin Musicians" on San Mateo's PBS station, KCSM. So I hit the remote for cable channel 17. The show was an hour-long broadcast of the 2013 All ATX concert at the Moody Theater in Austin, a benefit to support the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).

Fortunately, I turned on the TV just in time to catch musician Suzanna Choffel's two-song performance, the latter of which, entitled "Raincloud," absolutely knocked my figurative socks off. I spent some time this morning searching for more info on Ms. Choffel, and learned that she was a performer on NBC's The Voice a few years back, losing in the "knockout" round to a singer who I thought (having watched both performances on YouTube) was (aside from being occasionally off-key) derivative of nearly every other female singer one hears on contemporary pop radio. Anyhow, Ms. Choffel said about her loss: "I was definitely the wild card of the show, doing folk, pop, and reggae, and that may have hurt me in the end, but it's who I am."

I also found on YouTube what appears to be an audience recording of "Raincloud" from the All ATX concert, but the quality is quite poor; so, searching for the song itself, I found a superb version performed "live" at Austin's The Sessions production company. Enjoy!

I checked out Suzanna Choffel's albums -- her latest, Archer, includes "Raincloud" -- but I was disappointed: the sultry, raw quality of her vocals and fretwork are lost, sadly, in the music's overproduction. If she were to release a live album, I'd snatch it up in a digital minute!

Other performers at the All ATX concert included Marcia Ball, Christopher Cross, Eric Johnson, the Sexton brothers, and Jimmy Vaughan, to name but a few. The Austin Chronicle had a fairly decent review of the concert the following day.

Note: Ms. Choffel currently resides in NYC.

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